Date: August 6, 2016
Akio learns of a piece of important backstory about Hotaru as he learns of Hotaru's mother, a once important figure in Takigakure. Watanabe Akaki, also known as the Seijin Ten'nen Mizu or the Saint of Springwater, was a Jounin of Takigakure that suffered the same condition as Hotaru. A genius of water manipulation, she ended a drought when she raised water from a deep aquifer, and created a river. Watanabe Kohaku, Hotaru's father, provides insight on how two Watanabe from two distant branches of the clan who came from two different shinobi villages somehow found love even as Akaki's health declined and eventually lead to her death.
"The Legend of the Seijin Ten'nen Mizu"
Hotaru was allowed to keep her Hitai-ate after she resigned. It seemed that when the official order was signed, the Kage made a special not to allow her to do so with the hope that Hotaru would return as a shinobi once she was done sorting her ailment out. If it wasn't for her father pulling strings, she wouldn't have even been accepted into the academy, after all. Hotaru was stuck at the crux between anger and sadness this entire time, and she hadn't smiled since the encounter in the forest. The illusion of a happy life was shattered, and with any hope of her living past fourteen delayed, she hadn't real hope. Hotaru had started to become far more serious, and her outfit had changed completely as well.
The Watanabe was doing what she usually did at the current time, which was early evening. She seemed to leave the village gates, to a specific place where a wooden marker was set up to honor something. In front of this wooden marker, a cross of some sort, Hotaru always sets down a framed picture. A picture of her mother, the spitting image of Hotaru, making it seem that the only thing her father contributed at all was business sense and huge pride. Hotaru leaned against her cane as the white cape draped upon her hunched shoulders. "Stay strong, for as long as I have left…" Was her mother really smiling as the end approached? It feels as if this picture wasn't what her mother looked like at the end…
Akio was looking at the gate as he pondered his future a bit. He got there after Hotaru had stepped out of course. This simply meant he was unable to notice she was out there so easily. After a while though he naturally sent some chakra through the ground. It was a habit of his. This at least allowed him to spot someone not too far outside, and he just started walking that way. Truthfully he was very much surprised to see Hotaru and he didn't know how to react. He just stood there awkwardly, and didn't realize his use of chakra might be revealing he was there to Hotaru. For a moment he stood in place before stepping closer. "Hotaru? What…are you….doing out here?"
"I am asking my mother for strength." Hotaru said, tersely. "If I die, I don't want to die without shaping the world somehow, Akio-san. I don't have long to shape it. My mother died a Jounin of Takigakure, and she had a nickname too. She was known as the 'Seijin ten'nen Mizu' (Saint of Springwater). They said her control over water was so efficient, so strong, that she ended a terrible drought in The Land of Waterfalls fifteen years ago. Father said she drew the water up from a deep aquifer that no other shinobi could reach, and created a river that still exists today. When she was unable to walk any longer, she remained there at the beginning of the river she created to ease the drought. She was buried there too. Her headstone is there… I wanted to take you and Kaneko, but… You both did not come." Hotaru said that all with a very cold voice and expression. "Mother died changing the world. I refuse to die without changing the world too. I have two years left to change it…" Hotaru was given a strange gift that allowed her to excel in Ninjutsu as fast as she has, a feat no common shinobi would accomplish. The price in the end was her life. She did not look at Akio, but continued staring aimlessly at the grave. "If you knew you were going to die, would you spend the rest of your days peacefully or would you spend every last moment making a difference? My mother chose the latter, and for a time… I was going to choose the former." Was.
Akio nods slowly and walks even more slowly over to her. He listened to her closely and frowned. "Good to hear. That your mother did something with her life… I don't know anything really about my parents. It just sounds amazing to hear of what your mother did." He paused and sighed. "I don't know why Kaneko wouldn't join you, but for me… You never seem to want me around. Not for most things at least. So I just figure I should make it easy and leave you with Kaneko…. I didn't expect her to not go." He states before shaking his head. "You have already changed the world Hotaru. Maybe not in something as flashy as your mother, but you have in ways you don't even know…. You and Kaneko helped me accept the possibility of having people I could rely on…. Kaneko I know even if she is mad will never forget you and if you were to die she would live on in your name. YOu giving her the ability to be something great… With or without you actually being there. Plus you were the one… More than me or her own family.. You were the one that made her remember." He sits there quietly for a moment. "I have been a part of too much.. If I knew I was gonna die I likely would just accept it and enjoy what I can…. That doesn't mean you have to though. If you want to try something I am sure Kaneko supports you… And I….do as well."
"Making a friend or two is not changing the world, Akio-san." Her half-lidded, almost nihilistic looking, eyes seem… almost deadened now. Akio could see it as she looked over her shoulder at him. He could only see the side of her face, but what he saw was something unchangeable just from a few words. Her reality was shattered recently, after all. "Kaneko to me is like my father was to my mother, Akio. My father also stuck by my mother's side till the very end…" Akio ought to speak to Kohaku about what it was like. Akio might actually learn something very interesting from him. Nevertheless, Hotaru looked back at the representation of a grave once more. "I am pleased that I had an impact on you. You have been… Tolerant of me, even though I've pushed you away. I wish I knew why you two did not come with me… That time is over, however. I've never held any grudges for anything either of you have ever done…" Hotaru closes her eyes. "When I'm dead, you'll make a happy couple, you know. I'm glad. I was jealous then, but now I am looking into a future where I am not there. Whether I was jealous or not won't matter."
"No… It isn't you making friends. It is you giving those friends the power to change things in your name. If one day Kaneko became Tsuchikage then you know the first person she would say helped her get there? You of course." Akio just frowned at her face… "I see… But maybe it is because…. If there is nothing they can do.. They just want you to be happy and want to be happy with you. Of course she wants you to live, but sometimes…. They just want to be with you until the end? I mean if I was able to see my parents once I would've been happy, but I didn't even get that." He states with a grump frown. "Hotaru…. I don't like her like that… She is just like a sister or cousin to me. Of course I love her, but only like family. The same kind of love you would feel for a sister. I wouldn't want any harm to come to her, but that doesn't mean I would want to be with her. You being gone won't change that…" He walked over to her and attempted to give her a hug. "Maybe I am stupid for it, but I care about you Hotaru…. But unlike Kaneko I have accepted the fact that I won't be the one by your side. So the least I can do is help you gain more time…. To be happy. Maybe we should go visit your mother together as a team…. Before we go on that trip to help you…. ANd during that same trip we can see about you doing something for the world." He smiled a tiny bit.
"Kaneko was amazing before I burdened her." Hotaru noted, as she stared at Akio coldly. "Tell me, Akio. If you, out of devotion, spent your remaining days feeding me, clothing me, bathing me, carrying me, pushing me around as the disease robbed me of any ability to move at all… Would you benefit as a shinobi? Kaneko's time is better spent working towards becoming a shinobi through training, not spending her every waking hour waiting on me until death." … Hotaru tilts her head. "You do not like her like that, but you are all she will have. If you care for me, as you claim… You will promise me that when I am gone you will be there for her in my stead…" She stepped back as he tried to hug her, and her Watanabe anger gave her the strength to yell out to him. "AKIO! PROMISE ME! PROMISE ME YOU WILL STAND AT HER SIDE IN MY PLACE WHEN I AM GONE! PROMISE ME NOW!" Hotaru said as she shook her head side to side very hard, swishing her cane in front of her as she fell back, her head falling right beside the picture of her mother. "S-stop talking of your nonsense, and promise me… Promise me when all hope is gone, that she'll have someone to hold. Promise me when they bury me, that your shoulder will be there for her to cry on…" Hotaru curled up rather suddenly, and it was clear that her bloodline was sparked, because there were claws and scales upon her hands as she curls into a fetal position….
GAME: Save complete.
Akio frowned at Hotaru. "It would. It would give me the will and durability to keep going even when most would say there is no reason to. And sometimes that is the most important thing there is." He shook his head lightly. "She isn't the type of person to just give up on you! She won't. Just like she wouldn't give up on me." He shook his head lightly. "Hotaru! I will be there for her. Someone she can rely on. But not someone to love like that. I can be all those things without being that! It sounds to me like you are just trying to push us together so you don't have to worry about us helping you. Well too bad! You have two Murasame who love you and will do whatever it takes to let you live your life. And we are the type of people to give up… We don't give up on things we care about. If you do die… I will be there for her just as she would for me. But not in the way you two are." He watched her curl up on the ground and he sat next to her. His hand would rest upon her back if she didn't try to roll away and he just idly rubbed her back. "Hotaru. Don't give up on us or life. If you die then you will die knowing we did everything we could to prevent that. And you will die as someone worth remembering in more hearts than just mine and hers. You have the potential to be something. All you have to do is achieve that something." He would then try to hug her again this time more forceful as it seemed she was the on ethat needed someone to cry on.
Hotaru remained motionless, sad inside that she could not even get Akio to promise her anything. It… caused her deep emotional trauma, knowing that Akio might just… up and leave, and no one would be there for Kaneko… He might never do so, but Hotaru has faith in the words of promise where Akio doesn't seem to.
Hotaru remained curled up, arms covering her face as she just sat there, unresponsive. He had a good few fair points, the kind that would keep Hotaru happy if she could just bring herself to feeling like there is hope, but Akio doesn't realize…
Her father brought every medical ninja there was in Iwagakure, and paid a fortune trying to find a way to cure her. All he found was the special seals upon her legs that seem to keep the debilitation from spreading too quickly. If you went through your whole life hearing the words 'You have X years to live' from every doctor you knew existed, would you have hope? Hotaru does not. Hotaru only had distractions keeping her going. If it wasn't the distraction of looking out of her window on the top floor of her mansion, in a wheelchair, looking at the students playing she would be as she is right now. If she didn't have working towards becoming a genin, she would be one sad person. If she didn't have Kaneko or Akio distracting her from counting down the days until death, she would have walked off the cliff.
It would seem as if she was ignoring Akio, but she was just suffering too much right now to answer.
Akio would lift her up some if she didn't fight against him and basically wrap her in his arms. Sorta leaning her against him. "Hotaru…. I will be there for Kaneko alright? But I am also going to be here for you." Promises meant nothing because he was promised plenty during his time with those Murasame… And basically none came from it. If only she would speak Akio could speak much more in return. He didn't know how she felt… He only knew how to keep going even when it seems like there is no point to do so. "Hotaru…." He paused. "I really do….." He paused again not knowing what to say, but he looked down at her with a frown. "It's stupid…. Most will say that. But I love you.. You know that.. And if I do after everything you can only think how much Kaneko does….. Especially with you returning hers. Me and her will stay strong for you… Helping each other out and such.. I promise at least that much." He frowned again but this one was a different reasoned one. "We will find someone for you. To heal you." That is not a promise he can make though and so he doesn't say he promises.
Akio would have lingered a while, staying with Hotaru until it was clear she wanted to stay for longer than was reasonable, so he seemed to move off to speak with Hotaru's father about her mother at the mansion across the street from the academy.
Despite popular opinion, Watanabe Kohaku loved flowers! He was an excellent gardener, even if his gardens were nowhere near the splendor of Shuuren's. It was in the gardens that surrounded his manor that he could often be caught watering a specific flower. This flower was actually a well known species, but it had… A real impact on him. No lie, the name of this flower was called 'Forget me Not', though is also called 'scorpion grass'. There were many reasons that the duality of these two names represented his first love, Akaki. One, when she was mad she had quite a sting! Like a scorpion even! Two… Every time he watered those flowers, he always remembered her. They were called 'Forget me Nots' for a reason after all! Yet, even with all that symbolism behind the flower there was one thing that made the flower remind him of his wife.
The flowers he watered, as all flowers of that kind, were made of blue petals with a yellow center… The color of Akaki's and Hotaru's hair and eyes.
Kohaku's short white hair and full facial hair gave him quite the 'Sean Connery' look. Combine that with Itami-red eyes (After all, they had the same great grandmother) and you have the spitting image of the Toukubetsu. Pipe sticking from his mouth, he also had a rather ornate cape. He did this all in the small hours of the morning. A perfect time to catch him for a chat.
Because of his recent chat with Hotaru, Akio would be walking along and eventually stumbled across where Kohaku was. He just stepped closer to him, and stared at him for a moment before walking up to address him. Kaneko knew where he was headed if she decided to follow. "Hello sir… I uhhh.. I wanted to ask you some things. It is me, Murasame Akio. Teammate to Hotaru." He said to him before finding a place to sit/relax if he could. "So ummm…. If you don't mind me asking…. I wanted to ask you about Hotaru's mother… Everything that happened with her….. I know of Hotaru's illness.. So….." He seemed to at least worry a bit of Hotaru, so maybe that would give incentive to speak more than anything.
Kohaku wasn't angry. "You'll make a great investigator someday! Unless… She told you about her. It's not something I openly discuss with others." Kohaku stopped watering the flowers, turning towards Akio. "Murasame Akio! Ken tells me much about you over dinner sometimes… If Takigakure got word that the daighter of the Seijin ten'nen Mizu, they might throw a bit of a fit. Where to begin…" Kohaku scratched his beard. "You picked a marvelous day and time to ask about her. I met her when I first became a shinobi of Iwagakure. I was actually born in the Land of Wind, but the members of my clan… Used me. I ran away at a very early age, moved myself up to Iwagakure and couldn't find any work, so I joined the academy. Graduated, surprise surprise, and my first mission was escorting cargo through Waterfall Country. Akaki was also a genin, and was assigned to destroy the caravan. That was before the disease started to eat her. She was just as good at Taijutsu as I was, and she also incredibly adept at Ninjutsu. We fought, actually tired each other out to the point that we both were unable to fight. My comrades were dead. Her comrades were dead. We couldn't hurt each other, our scales were too tough! We fell asleep in each other's arms, almost. That said… Akaki never loved me. She loved another. It was funny. We… hated each other for a long time."
Kohaku smiled. "Each time we met one another on the battle field the result was the same. We'd tire ourselves out on each other, unable to kill each other as we wanted to do. It was… rather terrible of me! Eventually she started to grow on me! I… Started teasing her whenever we fought. Heh. Not a story for you youngins! Nevertheless. One day we exhausted ourselves into a cave, managing to get trapped in it! We had to work together to get out, and… Well… Sort of fell in love. Even though I knew I couldn't have her, I loved her anyways. Eventually, she created the 'Kohaku' river. Became a saint to the people of Taki. She was worshiped! She even got married! Not to me. Of course, then the disease started to overcome her. People left her side. She was simply going to spend the rest of her days content, sitting in a wheelchair and making sure the Kohaku river flowed for as long as she could. Even the person she fell in love with she pushed away. I risked my title as a shinobi of Iwagakure, left my village to go find her. Against her will, I might add, I dragged her away. Used so much money to try and help her. I spent every moment."
Old men do not cry do they, but Kohaku certainly was. "We… We did have Hotaru. She still hated me at the very end, she died hating me. She died giving birth to Hotaru. Isn't it funny? How… Love can be one-sided sometimes. I sort of think that she loved me, but she did not want to abandon the one she loved in Taki. Whoever he was."
Akio listened to the story and stared dumbfounded by the story.. What? That was……… What… "Oh… That is a…sad story…" He said quietly. "Why did you two have Hotaru if she supposedly hated you? Just wanted to leave her in this world or… Did she not want that either?" He asked seemingly a bit worried. "I just…. I don't get why you would do all that… If she hated you why would you do all that with her anyways? Why woul-" He paused a moment, and seemed to have a looking in the mirror moment. Kaneko at least has her love returned, but Akio…. Akio is hated by Hotaru, but here he is.. By her side every day anyways…. "You must've really loved her…. But now I think I see… Sorta…." He paused. "You did everything you could for her and didn't expect anything in return. But sometimes people need to move on…. Have you moved on from that by now? At least accepted it.." Sorta trying to see if Kaneko was doomed to forever stay in a state of hurt if Hotaru was to die…
"Woah, sport! Slow down! My attention span has faded with age!" Kohaku said as he attempted to listen to each and every question. "How do I put this… She was… Very lonely at the end. Lonely enough that there were times she opened up. Then… The rest is a bit much for someone of your age. We kissed, and she became pregnant!" Simple as that… right? Had Kohaku moved on though? "I have. It's good to remember, but… I've put my life on hold to keep her legacy going. I'm still searching for a cure, but money… Money can't buy everything, Akio. I think my daughter learned that lesson recently, didn't she?" He had his methods of spying. You don't become a Toukubetsu without some level of competency. "If it wasn't for Hotaru… I'd have likely retired. I've done and seen enough to fill three lifetimes."
Akio looked at him and nods slowly before raising a brow. "A kiss doesn't cause someone to get pregnant." He glared at him, but shook his head. He wasn't THAT stupid… Not that he knew what actually caused it. c.c "I see. So it is something you move on from…. How long did it take though?" He asked of him before looking at the street behind him. "I uhh…. I think she has learned that… But I don't care.. Even I know that, but I won't just give up on her myself… I want her to survive this. I really do. Even after everything that has happened." He stated. "Thanks for talking to me… Though that is really all I came to ask about…"
"Tell Ken the chakra metal shipment was delayed. By bandits. It will be taken care of though." Kohaku nodded his head. "You'll never fully move on from loss, but you try your best to make it a strength." No one wants his daughter to live more than Kohaku, of course. That goes without explanation! "Goodbye, young Murasame."